BASF and NSIP collaborate for intensive vegetable breeding partnership
August 18, 2021 By Nature Source Improved Plants (edited)
BASF’s vegetable seeds business has collaborated with Nature Source Improved Plants (NSIP) in an external collaborator since 2008, but on July 1, the two companies entered into a more intensive, comprehensive partnership. The collaboration focuses on the cucumber, pepper, and tomato breeding programs to develop and execute breeding work-flows, combining the NSIP genomic selection toolbox and BASF germplasm and breeding expertise.
Under the terms of the multi-year agreement, NSIP will work closely with selected breeding teams, applying their extensive bank of algorithms to improve data-driven decision-making throughout the breeding and selection process to introduce desired traits more quickly.
“By applying these algorithms with additional phenotyping, our breeding teams will improve the output of our predictive breeding efforts,” says Johan Warringa, BASF’s head of research and development (R&D), vegetable seeds, for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Predictive breeding brings together tools such as phenotyping, genomic selection, and statistics to help breeders make data driven predictions of which lines will perform best in a given situation.
“We cannot do it alone,” says Andreas Sewing, BASF vice-president of R&D, vegetable seeds. “In order to tap into the best innovations, we must look outwards and bring expertise in where it can strengthen our own efforts. This is part of our R&D strategy, to strike the balance between internal experts in a very nuanced industry, with external partners, who can help us make big strides in specific sectors.”
Collaborations are an important part of business for all of BASF and, since some of the company’s other seed divisions have also shown interest in working with NSIP, this is an exciting opportunity to see what can be done with a stronger, more intensive and purposeful collaboration. “Especially since 2020 has taught us a lot about how distance is a much smaller factor in partnerships like this than we once believed,” says Jan van den Berg, scouting and collaboration management, bioscience research, BASF. “Distance between partners was often seen as a barrier, but after being forced to find work-arounds in 2020, we’ve come to realize that distance is just one factor, and often a surmountable one, especially in the case of using computational tools. It opens the door to even more collaboration possibilities for both the vegetable seeds business and the rest of BASF.”
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